Keeping your data secure while you are using it is crucial to maintaining good cyber hygiene. Measures like encryption and multifactor authentication go a long way to keeping your business safe.

But a thorough understanding of how to physically handle and dispose of documents is equally important. It will allow you to better demonstrate GDPR compliance and reduce the risk of internal mistakes compromising your data.

Properly destroying information, whether it’s digital or physical, can seem like a hassle, but it’s not safe to throw things in the bin and forget about them. Data needs to be properly destroyed and not left to gather dust.

Here are three tips to ensuring that your information security is effective throughout your business.

Provide awareness training

As with any element of your information security, every member of your organisation needs to apply due diligence to the destruction of their data.

Provide staff with training that takes them through the reasons proper destruction is necessary and what best practice is for both storage and destruction.

Develop a culture of security within your business based around an awareness of proper data management. Make sure your staff know why things like clear desk policies are important and that they are implemented throughout the office.

Use locked storage consoles

Having one regular place to keep your work encourages a sense of routine when it comes to storing it securely. Maintaining a habit of locking away your work at the end of each day massively reduces the risk that sensitive information will get left lying around where it can get lost or stolen. Whether your staff keep physical notebooks or store everything on a laptop, their work will be consistently safe if they know it’s in the same place every day.

Treat information you’re disposing of with the same level of security. When you’re finished with key documents, keep them in tamper-proof consoles before having them destroyed, even if they’ve already been shredded.

Clear out old data regularly

As time goes on, information stops being relevant to your business needs. Continuing to expend effort and resources protecting outdated information is an unnecessary waste, so you’re better off getting rid of anything you no longer need.

The longer old files pile up, the bigger the risk they pose. If they’re not properly stored, they could get into the wrong hands. Your information will be much easier to manage if you don’t have to wade through clutter to get to what you need.

Develop into a habit of disposing of unnecessary documents at regular intervals. Set aside time in your schedule to sort through the information you have collected, whether on your physical shelves or digital files, and take stock of what you still need. Get rid of anything that is only taking up space so the only data you have left is that which is relevant.

You might consider working with an external company that employs secure methods of destruction to collect and dispose of your outdated materials on a regular basis. Knowing you have an appointment due can motivate you to keep your files organised and, if you are confident in your provider, can ease a lot of the pressure of secure destruction.